The tussle over same-sex marriage in Australia looks set to finally come to a head this week as parliament resumes with different marriage equality balls in the air.
On Tuesday the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, celebrating exactly one year since becoming PM, is expected to reveal details of the Government’s planned gay marriage plebiscite to his party.
This is expected to be vigorously debated by both sides before it even reaches the parliament given the $160 million price tag to conduct the vote.
There is also calls from churches and some of the anti-marriage equality groups that the government should also open up funding for each side’s case to be put to the Australian people, this is estimated at around $10 million each on top of the plebiscite costs.
News Corp has reported that one of the country’s most senior Anglican leaders, Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies, said Mr Turnbull promised him in February taxpayer money would be forthcoming.
Mr Turnbull’s office has rejected the summary of the conversation stating only that if there was to be public funding, it would be given equally.
The architect of the plebiscite for the Government, Senator George Brandis has said in a media doorstop on Sunday that he acknowledges the vote will be expensive and said the government was seeking to keep costs as low as possible.
“What those stakeholders have been told on all occasions is that in arranging or designing the architecture of this plebiscite, both points of view … will be treated by the government with strict equality,” he told reporters in Brisbane.
As well as the Government’s movements this week, two minority party bills will be put to the parliament on Monday.
Labor will re-introduce its same-sex marriage bill to the lower house while some lower house crossbenchers will put a separate bill and have written to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten urging him to ditch Labor’s bill and get on board with theirs.
They say only legislation that is not “owned” by any one political party has a chance of attracting Liberal “crossing the floor” support.
The Greens and a number of Senate crossbenchers have already said they will vote against the plebiscite.
If none of these actions get the nod this week then we could be talking again about this sorry story at the next election in three years time.
Last Updated on Sep 12, 2016